EURO 2016

Video - Coleman and McCarthy look forward to Euro 2016

EURO 2016By Kevin Palmer
Everton duo ready for Euro 2016 action with Ireland
Everton duo ready for Euro 2016 action with Ireland

Seamus Coleman believes the scars left by the Republic of Ireland’s miserable Euro 2012 experience will not have a lasting psychological effect on Martin O’Neill’s Class of 2016 as they prepare for this summer’s adventure in France.

Ireland were handed a nightmare opening group in the last European Championships and were duly condemned to an early exit after heavy defeats against Croatia, Spain and Italy.

The draw served up to Martin O’Neill’s squad for this summer’s tournament appears to be equally daunting, with a clash against Sweden in eight days time backed up by tests against Belgium and Italy.

Yet Everton defender Coleman is convinced the current crop have what it takes to create a few shock waves at Euro 2016, as he talked Ireland’s hopes of shining in France.

Coleman was still dreaming of claiming his first international cap back in 2012 and he insists the new faces in the Ireland squad are heading into this summer’s tournament with hope in their hearts.

“I think that (Euro 2012) is long forgotten about among the players,” stated Coleman, as an Ireland squad featuring 10 survivors from the miserable experience four years ago prepare to go into battle in France.

“Unfortunately, we had a very tough group with Italy and Spain, who both went on to get to the final.

“We have got a freshness now with Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane in charge, so I think that campaign is long forgotten about.

“The manager believes that we can beat anyone and we showed that when we beat Germany at home in the qualifying game. So we are not just going there to have a good time.

“We want to get out of our group and that’s our aim. The manager will set us up so we can have a chance of doing that.

“I’m excited for the first game, to get out there and soak up the atmosphere and try and perform in front of all our fans on one of the biggest stages you can play on in international football..”

Coleman was born a few months after Ireland’s most memorable appearance in a European Championship finals, with the tales from our first major venture into a major tournament at Euro 88 etched into our folklore forever.

“I heard all the stories of Ray Houghton scoring to beat England and stuff like that,” he continues. “They are all memorable occasions and hopefully we can be a part of that.

“To pull on the Ireland shirt is something as a kid you dream about, but you don’t really know if it is going to happen and the first time I pulled it on was one of the proudest moments of my career.

“I can imagine, all going well, if I can pull it on at the Euros then it will be up there again and probably surpass anything else.

“Obviously with Ireland qualifiers and friendlies, the supporters are always very good and always travel well in big numbers everywhere we go.

“But I don’t think there’s anything that grips Ireland like a major tournament and the excitement is starting to build already.

“All my friends and the fans in Ireland are planning their trips, planning their camper vans and hopefully we will make it a memorable summer.

“It’s up to us on the pitch to make sure we do things right so it can be an enjoyable one for all.”

Coleman’s Everton team-mate James McCarthy is also relishing the chance to make his major tournament debut in the game against Sweden on June 13th, after he was forced to withdraw from Euro 2012 for family reasons.

“I’m looking forward to being part of it and enjoying the occasion, but also making sure we are going out and doing ourselves justice,” stated the midfielder who is battling to be fit for the opening game against Sweden after any injury scare in recent days.

“It’s about giving a good account of ourselves and making sure we have a good tournament.

“Even going through the wee bit when everyone wrote us off in qualifying, they (the fans) still stuck behind us and obviously it is brilliant to play in front of that, it gives you that extra push.”

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